It was a pleasant pop of white color in a patch of green grass near our office. The gardener in me got intrigued by the mushroom as I wondered, “What if this is poisonous? Hahaha. Nah.” With much joy, I uprooted it from the ground and brought it back to my desk. I already imagined how I would preserve it at home because it was such a rare find! I took photos of it and even allowed my colleagues to touch it too! Everything was lovely until I began to search what poisonous mushrooms look like.
To my surprise, the first articles that I saw described the exact physical appearance of the mushroom that I just harvested. The type is called “Death Cap” which is responsible for 90% of the deaths caused by poisonous mushrooms. (Disclaimer: I am not a mushroom expert. So, it is possible that the mushroom I got was a “Destroying Angel”, which is another type with very similar appearances and deadly effects.)
At first, I was still in denial, but the truth slowly crept in me as my other colleagues realized it too. I found myself staring at the poisonous mushroom, thinking if it was still worth preserving. After a few hours, I decided to throw the bag away so I could prevent myself, my colleagues, and those at home to touch or mistakenly eat it. At that moment, I felt the Lord affirm me with this statement: “Good job for throwing it away! Isn’t it a lot like sin, Nic?”
Through the poisonous mushroom, the Lord taught me object lessons on the dangers of lingering in and / or loving sin.
FIRST: Death Cap mushrooms have a pleasant taste and a beautiful appearance.
I wrote this statement based on the articles of Mushroom Appreciation and Times Colonist. Of course, I did not plan to eat the wild mushroom, but, I clearly was intrigued by its beauty. When I realized that it was poisonous, I felt so deceived. It was fun to play with! It looked so pure, friendly, and harmless on the ground, and yet, this poisonous mushroom can kill someone.
In the same way, Hebrews 11:25 shows us that “…the pleasures of sin is fleeting” too. If we do not know this or take this into heart, we may end up being deceived by the beauty and temporary satisfaction that sin gives us as well.
SECOND: A single Death Cap mushroom, when eaten, can start damaging the liver and kill the body.
Based on this article , 6 to 24 hours after the Death Cap mushroom is eaten, the first symptoms of being poisoned are stomach pains, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. After 1-2 days, the body will seem like it has improved. But, by this time, the poison already caused serious damages to the liver, which eventually results to death. In order to survive, the victims may try to go through liver transplants.
Also, according to François Durand and Dominique Valla (2013) , Amatoxins (which are in Death Cap mushrooms), are so stable that heating or freezing it will not destroy its poison. So, even if the mushroom isn’t eaten, it is still important for one to immediately wash their hands after touching it.
It is a lot like sin. It says in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death…” Even if it is just one sinful act, it still leads to death (in this case, the eternal separation from God or “Second death”).
THIRD: Lingering in sin has its consequences not only in my life but in the lives of others too.
It’s sad to believe that when we commit sin, we are only risking ourselves in the process. Nothing could be further from the truth. The people around us are also exposed to the risks and consequences of our sins. Sometimes, we may not even realize it but we also end up causing others to sin in the process. I saw an analogy in the way I handled the mushroom. Instead of identifying first if it was poisonous or not and doing the necessary precautions, I allowed the mushroom to sit on my desk and I even showed it around, risking the lives of some of my colleagues.
Similarly, I’ve seen and experienced the consequences of my own sins and the sins of others and I cannot emphasize enough how heartbreaking it is to go through those moments. As I was pondering on this earlier today, I remember telling God, “I hate sin! I hate sin and its consequences!!” But, at the same time, I also remembered the moments in my life when I liked it; when I intentionally lingered in sin and enjoyed the temporary pleasures it brought me — even though I knew that it was breaking God’s heart too.
There is an intense need to break away from this, to have a distaste for sin, and to allow our desire for God and His Word to grow in our hearts. This will not be done by our own willpower, but by God’s grace and the work of the Holy Spirit in us. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 says, “…Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Before going home yesterday, I remember panicking in my heart because I started to think that although I washed my hands, some of the toxins might still be on it. I regretted my decision of harvesting it and questioned why God allowed poisonous mushrooms to grow on earth in the first place! God then humbled me with the ff. truths:
HE IS OUR SOVEREIGN GOD
The same indescribable God who made the galaxies, our complex human bodies, and the wonders on this earth is the same God who allowed these types of poisonous mushrooms to exist. I can question and complain all I want, but, I will never fully know and understand how and why God created the things that He did. It says in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.” Instead of grumbling about the hassles of the evil in this world and the temptations of sin, I am reminded to seek Him and His wisdom, knowing that He is sovereign over everything.
HE IS OUR SECURITY
Many years ago, God showed me that my sinful self needed to be saved from eternal separation from Him. God, in His great love and mercy, made a way through His Son, Jesus, who died on the cross to pay for our sins and rose again to show us that the victory is already His. I repented and accepted Him as my personal Lord and Savior and my eternity in Heaven was secured since then (Ephesians 2:8-9).
If ever I was indeed poisoned and was going to die in the next few days, I knew I was going to Heaven because of His grace. If we can trust Him with the biggest problem of our life, sin, then we can surely trust that He is able to work in and through us and our decisions, even if these include regrets, mistakes, and weaknesses. Even if we touch poisonous mushrooms or linger in sin again.
By God’s grace, I pray that when He does work in us, we will choose to immediately throw the poison away, seek Him and His Word, and let Him speak life and truth into our hearts instead.
I touched a poisonous mushroom. I hope you won’t do the same thing too. :O